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‘Still a lot of work to do’

Saturday, 1st June, 2019

Members of the Reconciliation Action Plan committee (from left) Justin Files, Councillor Christine Adams, Cory Paulson, Councillor Marion Browne and Donna K Cruickshank. PICTURE: Emily McInerney Members of the Reconciliation Action Plan committee (from left) Justin Files, Councillor Christine Adams, Cory Paulson, Councillor Marion Browne and Donna K Cruickshank. PICTURE: Emily McInerney

By Emily McInerney

A gathering was held yesterday to recognise National Reconciliation Week and the work being conducted in Broken Hill.

Yesterday’s Reconciliation Luncheon was hosted by Reconciliation Action Plan Committee Member Cory Paulson, and featured a soulful performance by talented musician Nyirey Kickett.

The gathering was addressed by Deputy Mayor Marion Browne, Lifeline’s DV Alert Coordinator Taunoa Bugmy, Maari Ma Acting CEO Justin Files, and FWLAHD Director of Aboriginal Heath and Planning, Donna K Cruickshank.

A common theme throughout the speeches was the need for acknowledgement of past injustices, and the importance of all parties to work together to build a stronger future. 

During her address, Clr Browne said the gathering was just the first step in ensuring improved relationships between Council and the Aboriginal community.

“Broken Hill cannot move forward without the valuable input of the land’s traditional owners, and as many of you will know, Council is taking direct action to improve these relationships through our Reconciliation Action Plan, and I wish to thank everyone who has made a contribution to that plan so far,” she said.

Mr Files echoed Clr Browne’s sentiments and said it was changes like the 1967 Referendum and the Mabo Court Case that paved the way for Indigenous people.

“Unless we know about the wrong, how do we know what to do about them?” he said.

Mr Files said the move to have an Indigenous person as the Aboriginal Affairs Minister was a step in the right direction.

“It shows goodwill moving into the future.

“But we still have a lot to do at a local level.”

Mr Files said Indigenous people were working hard to integrate themselves into the community.

He said he was proud to work for Maari Ma because they had a vision to have 100 per cent of Indigenous employees.

“We are the largest employers of Indigenous people in the region,” he said.

“We have a better chance of engaging with Indigenous people, that’s why the board has set the target.

“We know there is two-way learning with this, but we have been able to slowly build on that vision.”

Mr Files said it was important that relationships in the community be built on trust.

He also hoped the Reconciliation Week gathering would continue to grow.

“I acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of Council for commencing something small like this; I’m hopeful it will continue to grow each year.”

Mrs Cruickshank spoke about potential to hold a Reconciliation Walk next year.

“There’s been some positive changes in the town with the Aboriginal flag flying every day at the Council chambers, the development of a Reconciliation committee, Council is very supportive of NAIDOC Week events and the entry signage is inclusive of Indigenous people.

“We can expect many wonderful things in the future.”

Ms Bugmy said she hoped for a united front of people trying to obtain better outcomes for all.

“Empathy is a very powerful tool.”

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